BLS on lawyers

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Aberzombie1892
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:47 pm

The NALP bimodal salary chart uses salaries from roughly 35% of people that graduated from law school that year (look it up if are not aware of that fact). Thus, that chart is almost useless, not unlike how the Go To NLJ chart is meaningless for schools outside the top ~14.

It's true that the average salary for lawyers in the US is around $100K. However, that doesn't mean that average salary for people with a JD is $100K, as there is a dramatic difference between the two. Many people that graduate from law school will work as a "lawyer", as they will be squeezed out immediately after graduation and alo cannot afford to start their own firm. In addition, many people that actually land jobs as lawyers leave the profession within a few years, and they aren't leaving for jobs that pay $$$.

Don't let statistics fool you.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:06 pm

Job prospects. Competition for job openings should continue to be keen because of the large number of students graduating from law school each year. Graduates with superior academic records from highly regarded law schools will have the best job opportunities.

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Pricer
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:51 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:
RedBirds2011 wrote:
RedBirds2011 wrote:You are interested in helping drunk drivers return to the road as fast as possible?


No, I am interested in providing legal representation, which is the right of each and every individual in a free society. It is how the united states justice system works.


And I'm not limiting myself to DUIs, I was just giving that as an example. I have an interest in a lot of work involving individual people including divorces, family matters, probate, etc etc. I want to help people during their hard times. A lot of it stems from my own experience with it.


Have you ever worked with people on any of these matters? I worked for a while at a small firm that handled these things. The clients all expect to be your top priority, even though you're barely making any money from 99% of them. Most have trouble paying on time, don't want to pay, etc. They call the office 10 times a day and expect to be able to walk in at any time to meet with their attorney. I know huge corporate clients feel entitled to these things, but they are paying $800/hr, not $800 over four weeks and a dozen billable hours. Don't underestimate shitlaw until you work for a firm that handles these things. Sure, I enjoyed it as an assistant between college and law school, but I would not be happy doing this as an associate for $40k a year while my colleagues are making deals with CEOs for $160k a year.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:09 pm

Have you ever worked with people on any of these matters? I worked for a while at a small firm that handled these things. The clients all expect to be your top priority, even though you're barely making any money from 99% of them. Most have trouble paying on time, don't want to pay, etc. They call the office 10 times a day and expect to be able to walk in at any time to meet with their attorney. I know huge corporate clients feel entitled to these things, but they are paying $800/hr, not $800 over four weeks and a dozen billable hours. Don't underestimate shitlaw until you work for a firm that handles these things. Sure, I enjoyed it as an assistant between college and law school, but I would not be happy doing this as an associate for $40k a year while my colleagues are making deals with CEOs for $160k a year.[/quote]

" dont underestimate shitlaw until you work for a firm." quite an assumption there. Yes, I have. And I have also been one of the clients. Of course they expect you to make them top priority! Welcome to the working world. You deal with these issues in literally every real word service industry. The law is a SERVICE profession and if a student isn't ready to be an advocate, why are they becoming lawyers in the first place.

Most lawyers in this country are small firms and they provide a real need for legal representation.

It just seems to me that a lot of people who view anything less than work for a fortune 500 company as shit should REALLY reevaluate their reasons for wanting to go into the legal profession.

Ps. From what i understand, your colleagues aren't making deals with CEOs. Their bosses are. And the likelihood of becoming the boss is pretty low.

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rayiner
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby rayiner » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:12 pm

in2win wrote:If the government reports that the median annual salary for lawyers is over $100,000, is it really so unreasonable to expect a mid career annual six figure salary?

edit: heres the link

--LinkRemoved--


This is a basic LSAT logic question. "The BLS says that the median salary for lawyers is above $100k/year. Therefore, if I go to law school, it is reasonable to expect a mid career annual six figure salary."

The flaw in this statement is that it assumes that the outcomes for lawyers going to school today will be, statistically, the same as the outcomes of the BLS's surveyed pool of lawyers. This is not a reasonable assumption for many reasons:

1) Most of the nearly one million lawyers covered by the BLS's data graduated at a time when the legal field was far less saturated. Moreover, they got their foot in the door prior to the massive consolidation in the legal industry. Over the last few decades, the legal industry has moved from a model where most work was done by numerous regional firms to one where most work is done by a much smaller number of mega firms. The mega firms are bigger than any of the regional firms were, but because they expect their associates to work harder and bill many more hours, they need overall fewer associates than the regional firms did.

2) The statistics count people who are currently practicing lawyers. They do not count, at all, the people who never get a job as a lawyer. Of the 44,258 graduates in the class of 2010, only 64% found a job requiring bar passage: http://www.nalp.org/uploads/NationalSum ... ls2010.pdf. The statistics also do not count all of those that leave the profession, either because they cannot get permanent work or because the opportunities are not sufficient for them to move forward in their career.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:13 pm

This is why I think law schools should use significant work experience as a big factor in admissions...so many law students dont get how the real world works and become disenchanted when they realize they will graduate and not be immediately working on a multimillion dollar merger or arguing cases before the supreme court. Too much coddling goes on in our education system. The real world is cut throat folks.

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spleenworship
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby spleenworship » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:26 pm

in2win wrote:
Napt wrote:Ya of course graduating from any lawl school with a JD guarantees you a six-figure paycheck and official baller $tatu$.



i think you could make the argument that reaching six figures isnt exactly baller status nowadays.


Why, because you are only making more than 85% of households or 94% of the individuals in this country?

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Pricer
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:36 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:
Pricer wrote:Have you ever worked with people on any of these matters? I worked for a while at a small firm that handled these things. The clients all expect to be your top priority, even though you're barely making any money from 99% of them. Most have trouble paying on time, don't want to pay, etc. They call the office 10 times a day and expect to be able to walk in at any time to meet with their attorney. I know huge corporate clients feel entitled to these things, but they are paying $800/hr, not $800 over four weeks and a dozen billable hours. Don't underestimate shitlaw until you work for a firm that handles these things. Sure, I enjoyed it as an assistant between college and law school, but I would not be happy doing this as an associate for $40k a year while my colleagues are making deals with CEOs for $160k a year.


" dont underestimate shitlaw until you work for a firm." quite an assumption there. Yes, I have. And I have also been one of the clients. Of course they expect you to make them top priority! Welcome to the working world. You deal with these issues in literally every real word service industry. The law is a SERVICE profession and if a student isn't ready to be an advocate, why are they becoming lawyers in the first place.

Most lawyers in this country are small firms and they provide a real need for legal representation.

It just seems to me that a lot of people who view anything less than work for a fortune 500 company as shit should REALLY reevaluate their reasons for wanting to go into the legal profession.

Ps. From what i understand, your colleagues aren't making deals with CEOs. Their bosses are. And the likelihood of becoming the boss is pretty low.


If I wanted to handle divorces, probate, etc., I wouldn't have devoted so much money and effort to law school. I'm at the school I'm at because it is a path to what I want to do. I want to work with businesses. My undergrad degree is in finance. I do not want to work with individuals with legal problems like divorces and DUIs. I have worked with those people in the past, and it was a headache. I'm not saying biglaw isn't more of a headache or many times more stressful, but at least you can cash your check every two weeks and see the student loan debt going away and the suits in your closet getting nicer.


RedBirds2011 wrote:This is why I think law schools should use significant work experience as a big factor in admissions...so many law students dont get how the real world works and become disenchanted when they realize they will graduate and not be immediately working on a multimillion dollar merger or arguing cases before the supreme court. Too much coddling goes on in our education system. The real world is cut throat folks.


Nobody thinks that is what they will actually be doing when they graduate. If they think that, it is their own fault, because there is no information that I have come across that suggests it. Most people going to school to do biglaw understand how the biglaw model works. Significant work experience would be a terrible requirement. I want to be a lawyer, so I should be forced to work for 5-10 years in some other field then go to law school? There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years. I agree that students with significant work experience have a better understanding of the real world, but I also think that those students came to law school to start a second career because they didn't like their first one enough to stay. Plus, the work experience doesn't help you become a better lawyer (does law school even help that?), it just gives you a different perspective on life and employment in general.

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spleenworship
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby spleenworship » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:39 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:I always LOL when I hear the term "shitlaw." the only type of law I see as shitlaw is contract doc review really. Otherwise, people need lawyers. Think people charged with a DUI and the like don't need or really want a lawyer? Having been charged with one before, having such counsel for me was very helpful and I GUARANTEE that your "shitlaw" client will not view his or her case as "shit" and not worth working on. OMG if I'm not working on a merger or gigantic corporate transaction then the work is worthless!! :lol: I'd venture to say most saying these sorts of things never had any sort of job before law school.



I'm with redbirds- a lot of what people on here call shitlaw is vital and important. When you make sure your client can see his kids, or gets out of a marriage filled with domestic violence, or is able to make up a real estate contract to buy a home despite their credit, or is able to stay out of jail for something they didn't do, or something they did do but was accidental and doesn't need to be punished with years rotting away in jail... well, it seems to me that those things can allow you to go home and sleep at night.

And if you only make $45K a year to do that when you start, I don't see an issue with that. Most people making $45K can't even begin to claim they did anything nearly so important that week as keeping someone out of jail, or making sure they can see their kids. They probably just did something like managing some slackers selling shoes.

And if you start up your own firm doing shitlaw, I bet your ass could find yourself a millionaire within a decade if you were financially responsible.

ETA: someone will undoubtedly point out that because there is more responsibility involved that an attorney should make more than a starting sporting-goods manager. To which I respond "are you in it primarily for the money, or primarily for being an attorney?" You can get both, which was the point of my last sentence, but you really need to know which one is more important to you... and if the answer is money, please go to another profession, kthnxbai.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby spleenworship » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:40 pm

Pricer wrote: There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years.


Tell that to medical students, see what they say.

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Pricer
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:44 pm

spleenworship wrote:
Pricer wrote: There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years.


Tell that to medical students, see what they say.


They say that their 100% employment statistics are worth the extra years of schooling, not to mention a lot of it is practical experience. Residency is being a doctor. And lawyers learn most of their skills on the job. I do not want a surgeon operating on me to be learning that skill on the job.

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spleenworship
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby spleenworship » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:51 pm

Pricer wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
Pricer wrote: There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years.


Tell that to medical students, see what they say.


They say that their 100% employment statistics are worth the extra years of schooling, not to mention a lot of it is practical experience. Residency is being a doctor. And lawyers learn most of their skills on the job. I do not want a surgeon operating on me to be learning that skill on the job.


That wasn't my point. My point was that medical students, who start their residency at 26-28 years old, and don't start being able to make their own decisions or work their own hours until their 30s don't really think that 30+ is too late to be starting a career they plan to work for 25+ years.

When you are in your 30s (as I am) you will see that 25 years from then still puts you below retirement age. Hell, some judges work until their hundreds. It just isn't that big a deal to put it off.

On top of that my classmates with significant work experience seem happier working at law firms during the summer. The K-JD kids are always the ones complaining about how boring it is, or how long they had to work. The 25+ year olds are grateful to have a job in a field they are interested in because they know that a) almost every job is fricking boring, and b) that almost every job in America today requires more than 40 hours a week.

ETA: let me add to the last sentence that everyone knows more than 40 hours a week is required, but the 25+ year olds have actually done it. Until you have put in 70 hours at a job, you really don't know what it is like, so you tend to complain more once you actually experience it. The people who have done it before are generally happier to do it for a firm.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:55 pm

"If I wanted to handle divorces, probate, etc., I wouldn't have devoted so much money and effort to law school. I'm at the school I'm at because it is a path to what I want to do. I want to work with businesses. My undergrad degree is in finance. I do not want to work with individuals with legal problems like divorces and DUIs. I have worked with those people in the past, and it was a headache. I'm not saying biglaw isn't more of a headache or many times more stressful, but at least you can cash your check every two weeks and see the student loan debt going away and the suits in your closet getting nicer."

I don't disagree here. I'm not saying that you are less of an aspiring lawyer because this is what you want to do. I'm just trying to put things in perspective. Corporations need legal counsel as well and if this is what you seek and you are doing the right things to get this type of work then good for you! Again, just perspective here.

"Nobody thinks that is what they will actually be doing when they graduate"

First, my comment on surpreme court arguments was hyperbole, but isnt that far off from a lot students i have come across.

I think if they required WE, a lot of people who should NOT be going to LS would be weeded out which is a good thing for them as well as everyone else.
Last edited by RedBirds2011 on Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:02 pm

They say that their 100% employment statistics are worth the extra years of schooling, not to mention a lot of it is practical experience. Residency is being a doctor. And lawyers learn most of their skills on the job. I do not want a surgeon operating on me to be learning that skill on the job.[/quote]

That's the thing, residents ARE doctors LEARNING on patients on the job. And their pay after graduating from medical school with an MD is around 40,000. Those residencies can last as long as 7 years making that kind of money AFTER medical school.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:07 pm

On top of that my classmates with significant work experience seem happier working at law firms during the summer. The K-JD kids are always the ones complaining about how boring it is, or how long they had to work. The 25+ year olds are grateful to have a job in a field they are interested in because they know that a) almost every job is fricking boring, and b) that almost every job in America today requires more than 40 hours a week.

ETA: let me add to the last sentence that everyone knows more than 40 hours a week is required, but the 25+ year olds have actually done it. Until you have put in 70 hours at a job, you really don't know what it is like, so you tend to complain more once you actually experience it. The people who have done it before are generally happier to do it for a firm.[/quote]


Absolutely credited. Exactly why I think WE is so important. They don't go in with unrealistic expectations of what real world work is like.

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Pricer
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:10 pm

spleenworship wrote:
Pricer wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
Pricer wrote: There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years.


Tell that to medical students, see what they say.


They say that their 100% employment statistics are worth the extra years of schooling, not to mention a lot of it is practical experience. Residency is being a doctor. And lawyers learn most of their skills on the job. I do not want a surgeon operating on me to be learning that skill on the job.


That wasn't my point. My point was that medical students, who start their residency at 26-28 years old, and don't start being able to make their own decisions or work their own hours until their 30s don't really think that 30+ is too late to be starting a career they plan to work for 25+ years.

When you are in your 30s (as I am) you will see that 25 years from then still puts you below retirement age. Hell, some judges work until their hundreds. It just isn't that big a deal to put it off.

On top of that my classmates with significant work experience seem happier working at law firms during the summer. The K-JD kids are always the ones complaining about how boring it is, or how long they had to work. The 25+ year olds are grateful to have a job in a field they are interested in because they know that a) almost every job is fricking boring, and b) that almost every job in America today requires more than 40 hours a week.

ETA: let me add to the last sentence that everyone knows more than 40 hours a week is required, but the 25+ year olds have actually done it. Until you have put in 70 hours at a job, you really don't know what it is like, so you tend to complain more once you actually experience it. The people who have done it before are generally happier to do it for a firm.



RedBirds2011 wrote:"If I wanted to handle divorces, probate, etc., I wouldn't have devoted so much money and effort to law school. I'm at the school I'm at because it is a path to what I want to do. I want to work with businesses. My undergrad degree is in finance. I do not want to work with individuals with legal problems like divorces and DUIs. I have worked with those people in the past, and it was a headache. I'm not saying biglaw isn't more of a headache or many times more stressful, but at least you can cash your check every two weeks and see the student loan debt going away and the suits in your closet getting nicer."

I don't disagree here. I'm not saying that you are less of an aspiring lawyer because this is what you want to do. I'm just trying to put things in perspective. Corporations need legal counsel as well and if this is what you seek and you are doing the right things to get this type of work then good for you! Again, just perspective here.

"Nobody thinks that is what they will actually be doing when they graduate. If they think that, it is their own fault, because there is no information that I have come across that suggests it. Most people going to school to do biglaw understand how the biglaw model works. Significant work experience would be a terrible requirement. I want to be a lawyer, so I should be forced to work for 5-10 years in some other field then go to law school? There are already seven years of schooling involved. If significant work experience was required, the average law student would be 30+ at graduation.That's a little late to finally be starting a career you plan to work in for 25+ years. I agree that students with significant work experience have a better understanding of the real world, but I also think that those students came to law school to start a second career because they didn't like their first one enough to stay. Plus, the work experience doesn't help you become a better lawyer (does law school even help that?), it just gives you a different perspective on life and employment in general.
"

First, my comment on surpreme court arguments was hyperbole, but isnt that far off from a lot students i have come across.

I think if they required WE, a lot of people who should NOT be going to LS would be weeded out which is a good thing for them as well as everyone else.[/quote]

What would either of you suggest people do to gain work experience? Doctors are a bad example because many of them do not have work experience, they simply have longer schooling. A lot are K-MD (this is an educated case, but I would say more K-MD than K-JD). If someone wants to be a lawyer, why shouldn't he do K-JD? Why would he have to work a non-lawyer job for 5-10 years before he could actually go to law school to be a lawyer? Sure, you would cut out some of the people who should not be going to law school, but it would also weed out the majority of people who do want to go to law school. If I knew I had to wait 5-10 years after graduation to go to law school, I would likely not attend. Not many people want to start a career then switch to a completely different one 10 years in, especially if it requires three additional years of schooling. At the same time, it wouldn't cut out on the group that goes to law school because they disliked their first career and want to try something different. You would lose many people who would be great lawyers while barely affecting the people who chose law school just because it was something to do and they were tired of their first career.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:39 pm

With regards to medicine, it is so technical and high tech that I think WE comes less into play but that is not to say it is not important as you have to know how to deal with people everyday. The main point I was making with medicine is that when MDs graduate they are not qualified to be physicians just as JDs are not qualified to be lawyers post law school. Medical grads have to endure many years of very low pay as residents to be trained just as many lawyers work for firms at low (or even high if we're talking biglaw) pay. And med students deal with even more debt!!

For law, I think ANY WE is invaluable, including even things such as waiting tables. Im not sure who said this, but I have heard it before. "everything I learned about being a lawyer I learned while waiting tables" Again, this is an exaggeration but I think there is some truth to it. You obviously need to be technically competent and proficient as a lawyer, but from what I understand, the higher you move up the legal ladder in the private world the more customer service and sales skills become the deciding factor on how much work you can bring in for a firm. These skills are pretty much the breadwinners for every endeavor including ultimately biglaw. Knowing how to serve and deal with people is what separates document reviewers from the successful partners and any WE makes you better with this essential skill.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:45 pm

I don't think they should require 5-10 years. There should not be some arbitrary cutoff. I just think it should be an important factor. Even a couple years is good.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Pricer » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:52 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:With regards to medicine, it is so technical and high tech that I think WE comes less into play but that is not to say it is not important as you have to know how to deal with people everyday. The main point I was making with medicine is that when MDs graduate they are not qualified to be physicians just as JDs are not qualified to be lawyers post law school. Medical grads have to endure many years of very low pay as residents to be trained just as many lawyers work for firms at low (or even high if we're talking biglaw) pay. And med students deal with even more debt!!

For law, I think ANY WE is invaluable, including even things such as waiting tables. Im not sure who said this, but I have heard it before. "everything I learned about being a lawyer I learned while waiting tables" Again, this is an exaggeration but I think there is some truth to it. You obviously need to be technically competent and proficient as a lawyer, but from what I understand, the higher you move up the legal ladder in the private world the more customer service and sales skills become the deciding factor on how much work you can bring in for a firm. These skills are pretty much the breadwinners for every endeavor including ultimately biglaw. Knowing how to serve and deal with people is what separates document reviewers from the successful partners and any WE makes you better with this essential skill.


I think you are confusing the JD and the MBA. You are giving the reasons for why MBAs do require work experience. And MBA programs can have this requirement, because people are not going to a super-competitive three-year program to start a new career half way through their working lives, they are going back for 1-2 years and then picking back up in the same profession with a better degree. Requiring significant work experience just forces someone who wants to be a lawyer to have an unrelated career simply to be eligible to attend law school. I want to finish my schooling and get a job. I took a little over a year off to work in between, and I wish I had just gone straight through. I cannot imagine being in my late 20s or early 30s, ready to start a family and buy a house and all that, and having to leave my career to be a full time student again for three years to try my hand at a completely different profession.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:05 pm

I'm not confusing the two. When all is said and done, all I'm really saying is that often law students and grads have unrealistic expectations of what the real world is like. I personally don't think rushing into a professional school such as law right after undergrad is advisable for most students. I think they need to get out of the sheltered academic world to learn what the working world is really like before taking the plunge to an expensive legal education. That is not to say I think you personally are making a bad decision or that every student with no WE should be rejected, just that students with that WE are typically better prepared for what the real world entails and how to deal with people. I think spleen worship is Spot on when he says a lot of disenchantment comes from k-jd students.

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby spleenworship » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:21 pm

Pricer wrote:
I think you are confusing the JD and the MBA. You are giving the reasons for why MBAs do require work experience. And MBA programs can have this requirement, because people are not going to a super-competitive three-year program to start a new career half way through their working lives, they are going back for 1-2 years and then picking back up in the same profession with a better degree. Requiring significant work experience just forces someone who wants to be a lawyer to have an unrelated career simply to be eligible to attend law school. I want to finish my schooling and get a job. I took a little over a year off to work in between, and I wish I had just gone straight through. I cannot imagine being in my late 20s or early 30s, ready to start a family and buy a house and all that, and having to leave my career to be a full time student again for three years to try my hand at a completely different profession.


This is exactly what I am doing. I had a good career, I have a mortgage, I am holding my son while I type, and my daughter just helped me do dishes. I am excited to have a new, more fulfilling career that uses very different skills than the one I did before. I am glad to spend my new life in an office, with air conditioning doing reading and research and investigation, and in a courtroom competing against lawyers for important things.

When I turn 60, after more than 20 years as an attorney, I plan to attend midwifery school (as a man, weird but true) because delivering babies makes me misty eyed, and I would like to do that for the last 10 years of my life, unless I am a judge, in which case I might just stick with that.

You can always change careers, and I think having experience with another job, even a totally unrelated one, can do nothing but help any other career you do. Remember that if you become disenchanted with law, as so many lawyers seem to do (mostly, K-JD kids, I have noticed.... one of those I know became a writer, another an archeologist).

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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby Gail » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:23 pm

Tom Joad wrote:If you think about it, the lawyers who make money are more likely to stay in the profession and not switch to something else than the ones making $20,000 a year, so the career statistics could be skewed toward the high earners.


I could see both happening. I can see some of the high earning biglaw lawyers leaving the legal profession after paying off their loans because they realized they didn't like law, but needed to get the loans out of the way before going into teaching.

I could also see someone becoming a public school teacher because there are no law jobs, teaching is somewhat more predictable, and it could be a shelter from loans for 25 years (or would a public school teaching job qualify for 10?).


As for the OP. You're right. 40k is a decent salary available for the little more than half of law school students who graduate with a bar required job. There's the small thing about the 120-180k in loans though.

sadsituationJD
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby sadsituationJD » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:05 am

i would not be surprised if a decent portion of "shitlawyers" eventually climb over 100k especially if they are business-savvy and sales-y. For example, real estate attorney closing costs can be over $1,000. Pop out a few of those per week and you are probably looking at 100k already.


As a practicing small firm lawyer in NJ/NYC, I can tell you that no one is charging $1000 for a real estate closing around here. It's more like $600 for a seller and $750 for a buyer. Tell the client you want $1000 and you're not getting the work.

Of course, none of this matters since there are almost no closings now anyway thanks to the deader-than-dead real estate market. I've done 2 in the past 16 months, so the idea of "popping out a few those per week" is absurd.

As for DWI, almost no one in NJ is using a lawyer for this anymore. The word is out that a lawyer will not, in 99.9% of cases, get any better result than a pro-se litigant. I actually did handle one for a friend back in January, who blew a 1.3 roadside and a 1.13 at the official police station breathlyzer. Here is the problem: ANYTHING can be probable cause to pull over a car. My friend was pulled over for having a tiny license plate light bulb out, but if it wasn't that there are 100 K other reasons that will make out airtight probable cause. Go attend a few DWI hearings in municipal court, and you'll hear the lawyers & DA "stip to probable cause" in all but the rarest cases.

And nearly every P.D. now films the entire "stop" from the minute they hit the flashing lights all thru the roadside sobriety test and then the actual breathlyzer blow/intake at the police station. You aren't getting people off for "loopholes" like the machine wasn't calibrated or any of that nonsense anymore. In NJ you also cannot plea-bargain these, so basically all you can do is beg the D.A. for the minimum suspension time, which they usually give anyway for 1st offense regardless of whether a lawyer is involved or not.

At my friend's DWI, I got him the minimums, but so did every other 1st offender who was pro se (there were 5 pro se DWI that night). All you can make $$$ on are the 2nd and 3rd/4th/5th offenders, where the possibility of jail time and such can make a lawyer damned handy.

But just google the terms "NJ DWI lawyer" or "(insert your state/town) DWI lawyer, and see how intense the competition is even for this crap. Where will you get the $$$ to out-advertise the experienced lawyers in their 50s, 60s and 70s who spend 10 or 15 K a month to get those high click positions? There are "mills' which will simply up the price to stay in the top of Google, and unless you go to law school for free and then borrow 50 K for ads, you won't get anywhere near enough work to survive.

The same thing applies to most shitlaw: consumer bankruptcy, wills/estates, personal injury, divorce: a MONSTER ad budget is needed to get enough of this work to even earn a middling living. And as another posters pointed out, the trend nowadays is for the big "mills" to hog most of the cookie-cutter type shitlaw work.

The worst thing by far, however, are the enormous investments of time wasted on "tire kickers"- the insane folks who call and want to tell you a 9 hour story about their issue, yet don't have even $100 for a retainer. In the words of one solo, most ordinary clients have "big problems and empty pockets." I'd put the current failure rate for solos and small firms (based on experiences of my law school and former co-worker friends) at well above 90%. The supply/demand metrics are just insanely out of whack, and getting worse and worse each year as Biglaw hiring stalls and the ABA accredits more and more marginal schools. By the time you guys graduate, it will likely be even worse.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Looking at other posts by sadsituation and judging by his name, it looks like he/she is pretty disenchanted with the profession. I can say nothing about NJ, but every lawyer I have worked with down here in Louisiana seems pretty happy about their job. I also know some hat are disenchanted. I know doctors who also regret going to med school, doesn't mean it's always a bad choice. It is so individual specific an internet forum will not give you th right answers either way. I know one thing, I know I would never want to live in NJ.

First time offender comments: The stats show that a significant portion of first time offenders become repeat offenders. I know numerous situations where obtaining legal counsel was important even for first timers (my own includec) However, this is not to say I disagree with most of what you said about this issue on the extent of what a lawyer can do other than lessen the punishment and counsel them through it. All in all, the attorneys job is not always to just get the off, it's to take care of a lot of the procedural stuff the client does not want to do.

I wouldn't be relying on all your incoming business from google ads and ad space. It's important, but most clients, IN ANY SERVICE industry mind you, come from REFERRALS. A lot of people "get this" and a lot of people dont. But success in life requires this not just law.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: BLS on lawyers

Postby RedBirds2011 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:51 pm

In any business, it's not like success comes down to put up expensive google ad and billboard and watch profits come in. That shit comes later once you are already bringing in business and are growing even more. Starting out, and even later on, most of the business is referral driven, who you know, and your people sense. You have got to build a REPUTATION. A lot of failures come from people putting up Ads and expecting for clients to just fall in place. Real worlddoesnt work that way. And yes I have experience with this.




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